Full Disclaimer: This post is based on MY own experience and my friend circle. It does not at all apply uniformly to all Pakistani women or maybe not even to girls of today. That said, this article is indeed aimed to all my fellow gal pals who are in their 30-40s and know how what I am talking about.

Itโ€™s interesting to receive so many requests for this topic. Or should I say, kind of concerning.

It is interesting that majority of us have an arranged marriage, as coming from Pakistan. It is automatically expected of a new BAHU to excel at the relationships that came with the marriage. Itโ€™s not like we had relationships before marriage and knew about menโ€™s psychologically and how to connect with his family, unlike in the West.

At the time you are reading this post, we; hubby and I, have been married for 16 years. To say that this relationship did not have its ups and downs is an understatement. With the fear of failure and always the underlying respect for our parents, I see women giving, instead of taking a stand. This of course includes myself. However, I have come to set rules for our relationship that bring sanity to our relationship. Today I am sharing 3 rules that have helped me.

There is always a reason why you need to make the marriage work. For us these reasons are not always love and passion for the spouse. Rather, many a times women take what comes their way as they do not want to burden their parents with any stress of a marriage that didnโ€™t workout. At least this is what I have seen and learned in my friend circle.

Here are some of my key rules for building our relationship while maintaining strength in our communication:

1. To be your best, invest in good friends!

In the start of our marriage, every weekend, evening, vacation, free time, activity time.. was dedicated to the spouse. This soon started to get tiring!

It was rather presumptuous of me to assume that we are now tied to each other for each and every hour of our life. Also, understandably it was wrong to think that a spouse can replace friends.

Talk to your spouse from the beginning of the marriage about your relationship and boundaries. Plan your girls night out and encourage your hubby to do the same! Keep a balance, but slowly grow this.

Iโ€™ve noticed that in some couples, one of the spouse does not want to go out with friends and expect the same from the partner. When such a situation arrives, I see that many a times wives quit meeting friends because of the husband. Please do not change yourself and cut off your ties with your true friends. Instead discuss with your spouse for a middle ground. Maybe instead of a girls night out, he is ok with a Brunch which happens while he is at work.

On this note, it is OK to have friends who you have known since childhood. It is also OK to walk away from so-called friends who pull you down! Recognize your comfort with people and decide accordingly. No need to stay bound to someone who makes you feel less of yourself. Seek friends who build you up, and rejoice in your friendship.

2. Set boundaries..yes let me repeat that.. SET BOUNDARIES!

I hear so many of my Desi friends with the same complaint again and again. When arguments go south, husband lashes out against the wifeโ€™s family. I believe that this is the easiest way for a husband to attack. Many times my friends tell me; โ€˜I never saw this in my fatherโ€™. True.

One thing to understand is that in Desi husbands, the concept of Mental Abuse is still unrecognized. It is something that happens in almost every household. Be it from husband, mother-in-law, or even other family members. This will not change in one day. But BE the change.

Try talking to your husband and telling him how hearing certain things upset you. Having a shouting match will not resolve this. Instead walk away and write an email. Continuous arguing does not help. Nor does reciprocating with negative comments.

Never stay angry or sad. Find a middle ground. Anger only hurts you. Instead talk about consequences with your husband. Once this is clear in a marriage, relationship can progress.

3. Invest in your Personal growth!

I come across so many women who still believe in not wanting to learn or contribute to personal growth; kyuon keh ghar rehna hai. Also, that should be something a husband is to responsible for. Iโ€™m sorry to tell you this, but the world has changed and so do you need to as well. I understand that many women believe that keeping the financial burden on the husband is the way to control him (not my opinion, but what Iโ€™ve heard). Yet, in this way stop their own growth.

I also know many ladies are put off by the common statement coming their way; โ€˜Tum karti Kya ho? Sara din tou ghar hoti hoโ€™.

Please believe me…and YES Iโ€™ve done my research and asked my friends from multiple cultural backgrounds. The statement above is NOT a Desi men only statement. So now we know ๐Ÿ™‚

Today your investment in yourself will make you content with your hard work. Some ways to invest in your personal growth:

  • Take a new course to learn a new skill or to improve an old one.
  • Volunteer! There are always multiple opportunities around you.
  • Create a reading list, and set a schedule to complete it.
  • Start a freelance job from home, which intrigues you.
  • Work out! Physical exercise is the best way to invest in your mental health. Work outs make you happier!

You will notice that when you get busy with things other than house work, your spouse picks up on your busy state. There are of course stages of him complaining, followed by reasons for you to stop! Persist and you will soon seen that the spouse becomes a supportive companion.

So ladies this article is just an introduction to relationship building, I am always eager to learn and grow my own relationship. Please comment below on the topics you would like me to write about.

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